KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Brandon Williams sank a 3-pointer to put North Carolina ahead for good with 35 seconds left as the seventh-ranked Tar Heels rallied past No. 20 Tennessee 78-73 Sunday.
North Carolina (10-1) capitalized on a 9-0 run in the final minute to win for the fifth straight time and ended Thompson-Boling Arena’s hex on defending national champions.
Tennessee (7-2) had won each of the last five times it had hosted a defending national champion, a string that included victories over Connecticut (in January 2012), Florida (February 2007 and February 2008) and Kentucky (February 1999 and February 2013).
Joel Berry II scored a game-high 21 points for North Carolina. Williams and Luke Maye added 15 points each.
Tennessee led by as many as nine points in the second half and was ahead 70-67 before North Carolina took control down the stretch.